This article focuses on how the black body, particularly black women’s hair, is represented
in advertisements for hair relaxers published in True Love, a South African magazine
directed at black women. Using qualitative visual semiotic analysis, this article focuses on
the process of dehumanisation through visual representation by paying attention to hair, a
highly politicised subject in South Africa. In addition, using pre-group questionnaires and
focus-group interviews, the article examines to what extent the images possibly shape hair
styling practices of black female readers, aged between 18 and 45, who live in urban areas
in South Africa.